Lanny Nielsen

Lanny Nielsen, 86, Passes Away

Thoughts and prayers from the Utah Section PGA to the Nielsen family during the passing of Lanny Nielsen, a PGA member sine 1963.

His obituary and Celebration of Life information is below:

Even at the ripe old age of 86, Lanny Nielsen’s passing on September 17, 2022 came much too soon. He was a charming, funny, sweet and immensely talented man who made friends with everyone he met. No one had more stories to tell, or enjoyed telling them more. And the countless people who loved him all have stories about him that will continue to be told for many years.

Lanny was born in Preston, Idaho and raised in Blackfoot, where he was a star athlete in most every sport. Golf, however, was his passion, first as a player at BYU, then as a professional and PGA Tour player, then as assistant pro at Hidden Valley, head professional at Wasatch Mountain State Park and the first director of golf at Jeremy Ranch. And starting in 1991, he even began contributing to the development of golf video games for Access Software and then Microsoft.

Lanny’s contributions to Jeremy Ranch were a source of great pride. He developed close relationships with Gerald Bagley, the course’s founder, as well as architects Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, while the course was in the development stages. Through the 1980’s, he was the tournament director of The Shootout, a PGA Tour event hosted at Jeremy.

The other love of Lanny’s life was Claudia Cummings, who he married in 1984 and always said was “out of his league.” Claudia shared Lanny’s passion for both golf and having a good time. They bought a home on Jeremy Ranch and turned it into a beautiful, magical gathering place for friends, and both of them making sure everyone was having fun. As Lee Benson, their long-time friend once said, “Lanny’s real talent is kicking back. His greatest achievement was collecting friends. He had a gift of putting everyone at ease and making them feel important. He lived a life of tranquility.”

Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lanny would say he was one-of a-kind and there will never be another like him.

Lanny’s Celebration of Life will be at Jeremy Ranch Country Club Tues., Sept. 27th from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Casual golf attire.

Blake Tomlinson Trophy H

‘It was an awesome moment’: You won’t believe how former University of Utah golfer Blake Tomlinson won the Utah Open Sunday

By Jay Drew, Deseret News

Usually, the only roars heard at Riverside Country Club in Provo come during football games at nearby LaVell Edwards Stadium, home of the BYU Cougars.

But one came Sunday afternoon that probably could have been heard over on campus — and it came after a shot by a former Utah Ute, no less.

Blake Tomlinson will certainly never forget it.

The newly minted pro, who completed his eligibility at the U. last May in the NCAA Championships, holed a 48-yard approach shot for an eagle 2 on the 16th hole. That heroic shot, along with two other eagles and a slew of birdies, carried him to the 2022 Siegfried and & Jensen Utah Open title. 

“I knew I put it in a good spot. That’s why I ran over to the left.” Tomlinson said. “I had the bunker a little bit in the way,” he said. “I saw it rolling and I didn’t know if it was going to get there. Everyone was telling it to go in before it went in, and I was like, ‘oh, gosh, hope it goes in,’ and when it did dropped, it was an awesome moment.”

Tomlinson and caddie Kyler Dunkle after Blake’s first of three eagles, including two hole-outs.
Photo: Jesse Dodson/Utah PGA

Near the clubhouse, where a group of fans had gathered around the 18th green, folks looked at each other and asked, who (produced) that? Some thought Tomlinson or perhaps Zac Blair had made an ace on the par-3 17th. But it came from the 16th, and the Tomlinson clan, in particular — several of them dressed in Ute red.

“Yeah, I think everyone heard her,” Tomlinson said of roar, nodding in the direction of his mother, Annette. “But yeah, it was awesome. I have a loud family, that’s for sure. But you gotta earn it, and I think I did.”

Tomlinson, who prepped at Skyline High, became the first former Ute golfer to win the Utah Open since Bruce Summerhays won in 2008 at Oakridge in a playoff over his nephew, Boyd Summerhays. But that came some 40 years after Bruce Summerhays played for the U., and by then he was known more for his accomplishments on the PGA Tour and PGA Champions Tour.

Read the whole Jay Drew Deseret News Story HERE.

Click here for Final Round photos.

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Blair Sinks 50-Foot Birdie to win Women’s Open

By Kurt Kragthorpe,

Her achievement, five seasons in the making, forever will be known as the Tess Slam in Utah women’s golf. Bingham High School graduate Tess Blair is convinced someone else will match her collection of victories, and that may be true.

This dramatically, though? Unlikely.

Blair’s 50-foot, downhill, wide-breaking birdie putt on the 18th hole gave her a stunning win Tuesday in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open presented by Fairways Media at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. When the ball struck the flagstick (as the updated Rules of Golf allow) and settled into the hole, Blair covered her mouth in the classic expression of disbelief, then took two steps and hugged her father/caddie, Robert.

And that was before Blair even knew she had won the tournament. The Sacramento State golfer never likes to know where she stands, so the news that she had rescued a win that almost got away from her in disastrous fashion made the ending even more satisfying.

Blair’s one-stroke victory over Colorado pro Bryce Ray came after she lost a six-stroke lead on the back nine, with Ray playing two groups ahead of her. With a pair of 69s for a 6-under-par total, Blair became the first golfer to win three Utah Golf Association events (the Women’s State Am, Mary Lou Baker Open and Women’s Stroke Play Championship) and the Utah Women’s Open, launched by the Utah Section PGA in 2017.

After winning the Stroke Play title by one stroke over Fotu in July, Blair became aware of her historic opportunity. “I thought it would be good to check it off my list,” she said. “I didn’t know it would come so soon.”

Blair’s accomplishment almost became known as the Sirene Slam. Her sister, Sirene, who’s six years older, lost the inaugural Utah Women’s Open in Provo when Lea Garner made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Ray earned $1,500 as the low professional, finishing two shots ahead of defending champion Kerstin Fotu of BYU and Haley Sturgeon, an assistant pro at The Country Club of Salt Lake City in the field of 38 amateurs and 10 pros. Ray would have welcomed a playoff for the trophy, just to test herself.

Colorado Pro Bryce Ray

As she played the back nine. Ray was concerned mostly about staying ahead of Sturgeon, while putting pressure on herself to finish well for the sake of preparing for the upcoming LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. The former Wichita State golfer birdied three of the last five holes to post a 67, while lipping out a birdie try on the par-3 No. 17.

That’s where Blair three-putted from the fringe for a bogey, after an errant drive had led to a double bogey on the par-5 No. 14. She remained positive at that point, saying, “I knew there were still some birdies out there.”

One, anyway.

Blair’s drive sailed slightly right on the par-4 No. 18, leaving her on an upslope, 110 yards from the hole. Her wedge shot sailed to the upper tier of the green, making even a two-putt par challenging. She judged the speed and the line perfectly, though, as the ball trickled over the ridge and into the hole.

Blair earned an exemption into next week’s Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club in Provo, where Fotu last summer became the first woman to make the 36-hole cut.

Click here for full results

Click here for event photos.

Story posted with permission of Kurt Kragthorpe. Originally appeared here: https://www.sltrib.com/sports/2022/08/09/50-foot-birdie-win-utah-womens/

Mountain & Midwest

Members First: Meet your PGA Mountain & Midwest Region Team

PGA of America hires 3 new consultants to complete a team of 6 industry experts to support the professional development, operational excellence, and future success of the Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rocky Mountain, and Utah PGA Sections

Frisco, TX (June 22, 2022) – The Mountain & Midwest Region covers 6 PGA Sections and all or part of 14 different states.  The Regional Model was designed to ensure that resources, conversations, and collaboration are happening at the grassroots level where Sections, PGA Members, and Associates live and work.  Through intentional collaboration in critical member-centric services, the Member & Section Operations Department will deliver on the PGA’s mission to “Serve the Member, and Grow the Game” In support of that initiative, the PGA of America’s Member & Section Operations department announces the addition of 3 new Career Consultants in the Minnesota, Rocky Mountain/Utah, and Nebraska/Iowa Sections of the Mountain & Midwest Region to augment the Regional Director, Recruiting Specialist, and Player Engagement Consultant already serving the region. 

Meet the team:

Keith Soriano, PGA | Regional Director | Mountain & Midwest Region

Following 5 years as the Career Consultant for the Colorado and Utah PGA Sections, Keith has assumed the role of Regional Director for the Mountain & Midwest Region.  In this new role, he will lead the team of consultants who serve the M&M Region as well as serve as the career consultant for the Colorado Section. An Army Brat, Keith had 11 home addresses before the age of 18.  Following graduation from the University of Colorado, Keith has spent the last 22 years in the golf industry in Colorado, which makes Colorado home now.  He has served in multiple roles including Assistant Executive Director, Director of Golf, Head Golf Professional, Assistant Professional, Tournament Director, Sales & Marketing Director and High School Coach.  Keith is also a 3-time Section award winner and previous board member.  He believes strongly that golf can be used to have a positive impact in people’s lives and communities around the world, and that PGA Professionals are the most critical element in that ecosystem.

An advocate for continuous personal and professional development, Keith recently earned his MBA from Louisiana State University and was the first PGA Member in the Association to become a Certified Professional in all 7 career paths through the PGA’s Lifelong Learning program.  Keith and his wife of 15 years, Holli, live in the northern suburbs of Denver with their daughters Delaney and Ellie.  When not working, Keith enjoys fly fishing, pheasant hunting, and cheering on the Colorado Avalanche and his beloved, albeit underachieving, Colorado Buffaloes.

Mike Aldrich, PGA | Player Engagement Consultant | Mountain & Midwest Region

Mike is proud to be a member of the Mountains & Midwest Region as the Player Engagement Consultant, with a varied background in multiple Sections over his 28 years as a Golf Professional. Most recently, he was the Director of Player Development at Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he increased the instruction revenue from $8000 to $104,000 in three years, and is proud to have less than a 3% resignation from his students against the 17% attrition rate of the entire membership. Before that, Mike was a Player Development Regional Manager serving the Middle Atlantic Region.

Mike just celebrated his 30th Wedding Anniversary with his wife Laura, who runs Licensing for the Property Brothers, and has two grown daughters, Emily, who is a Quality Engineer and Molly, who is a litigation assistant. Mike spends his spare time learning about human behavior and the golf swing, and tries to put a fly in the water whenever a moment presents itself. If you’d like to hear about his decade in endurance sports, just mention cycling, swimming or running and he’d be happy to regale you his 2011 Ironman Finish in Coeur d’Alene.  Mike wakes up every morning excited to help his fellow professionals create lives that are personally and financially rewarding.

Kate Drimel, PGA | Recruiting Specialist | Mountain & Midwest Region

PGA Professional Kate Drimel serves as a PGA Career Services Recruiting Specialist, proudly serving the Mountain region. Born and raised in Minnesota, she was exposed to the game and business of golf as a second generation PGA Member.  She has worked across many sectors within the golf industry, from private and public green grass facilities to digital marketing companies and the Minnesota PGA Section. Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas, where she played for the golf team. She has earned several golf scholarships, including the Minnesota PGA Assistants Chapter Associates Scholarship, an Academic Scholarship from the PGA of America and was named an All-American Scholar by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

Andrea Kloppman-Heit, PGA | Career Consultant | Minnesota Section

Andrea joins the Career Services team as a Career Consultant in Minnesota Section after a 17 year career that includes positions as a PGA Head Golf Professional, Assistant Golf Professional, Golf Coach, Independent Instructor, Merchandiser/Buyer, and Sales Representative.  A native of Eau Clair, WI, Andrea graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. An instrumental player for the UWEC women’s golf team that finished in 3rd Place in the NCAA DIII National Championship, Andrea was the 36th ranked player in the nation.  Following graduation, Andrea began her professional career as an Assistant Professional at HIllcrest Golf Club of St. Paul.  Following HIllcrest, Andrea moved on to Southview Country Club in West St. Paul where she served as an Assistant and later promoted to the Head Golf Professional position. Her extensive experience will be a tremendous asset as she serves the PGA Members, Associates, and Industry Partners in the Minnesota Section.  Andrea and her husband, PGA Professional Brent Heit, reside in Hudson, WI with their son Hogan and dog Snoopy.

Lucas Brick, PGA | Career Consultant | Rocky Mountain & Utah Sections

Lucas joins the Career Services team after 12 years as a PGA Professional in the Rocky Mountain Section, most recently serving as the Head Golf Professional at the Valley Club in Sun Valley, Idaho. During his time in the Rocky Mountain Section, Lucas served in various leadership roles, including Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Snake River Chapter. He also served six years as a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Section, as well as on several committees. Lucas is a two time Section award winner, including the 2018 Player Development Award and the 2021 Professional Development Award. Lucas resides in Hailey, Idaho with his wife Lindsay and children Xander (3) and Pippa (1). When away from the course, Lucas enjoys spending time with his family outdoors, hiking, fishing and skiing.

Kevin Drew, PGA | Career Consultant | Iowa & Nebraska Sections

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Kevin joins the Career Services team on the heels of a 11 year career at green grass, most recently spending 8 years as the PGA Head Golf Professional at the Field Club of Omaha.  As a graduate of the PGA Golf Management Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kevin spent a year in the Colorado Section before returning home to the Nebraska Section to take on the first of his two head professional positions he’s held.  In addition to his responsibilities at the club, Kevin has served the Nebraska Section as Secretary and spent two terms on the Nebraska PGA Tournament Committee.  Kevin is passionate about building relationships with fellow professionals and assisting PGA Professionals and Associates in the Iowa and Nebraska Sections with their employment and career development for many years to come.  When not on the golf course, Kevin enjoys riding his Peloton bike and cheering on the Cornhuskers with his wife Lisa, daughter Baylor, (with another on the way!), and two dogs.     

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Women’s Golf Day Celebrated at Glenmoor Golf Club

By Randy Dodson

Nearly 100 women enjoyed golf clinics, lunch, keynote speakers and camaraderie at the annual Women’s Golf Day event at Glenmoor Golf Club, June 7th.

Joining Glenmoor golf instructors (Photo left to right) Tess Blair, Alanna Beagley, Head PGA Professional Daric Olsen, keynote speaker Sharlene Wells, Sirene Blair, Denise Larsen and the Utah Golf Hall of Fame’s Sue Nyhus were the South Valley Chamber Women in Business leaders.

Glenmoor GC Head PGA Professional Darci Olsen, the organizer of the event said, “We chose the Women of the World Foundation as the event’s charitable cause this year. They help women refugees learn English, find housing, get schooling, and employment options.”

The Utah Golf Association’s Lisa Imamura and intern Taegan Keep were on hand to help inform women on the importance of GHIN handicaps, a UGA membership, tournaments and playing opportunities.

Speakers included Samira Harnish, the founder of Women of the World. Harnish came to the United State 41 years ago as a refugee and started Women of the World to support other women in like circumstances. South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey spoke about Arnold Palmer and building character.

Sharlene Wells, Miss America 1984, and a former sports broadcaster for ESPN also spoke. In 2015 Hawkes was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Armed Forces. She spoke of her experiences and how women can be bold and still smile, and the importance of  learning to play golf for women in upper management positions. She spoke of her own playing experiences including one of her earliest rounds played with Bob Hope, Johnny Miller and President Ford.

Olsen said, “We were able to raise $2,000. The South Valley Chamber and another local business in attendance generously matched our funds. We were be able to give the Women of the World foundation $4,000. It was a great day of growing the game, giving back and celebrating Women.”

Women’s Golf Day is a global celebration of women and girls in golf. Now in its 7th year, WGD unites people across the globe through golf. Starting in Australia and ending in French Polynesia, events took place for 24 hours straight. Events were held in every continent, apart from Antarctica. 

The events allow a simple and accessible platform to build a golf foundation and skills that will last a lifetime. It creates a network to support the continuation of golf no matter what skill level or interest, while engaging women in an empowering initiative with global impact from a local level. The event transcends race, gender, religion, language, geography or economic status.

For more information please visit www.womensgolfday.com.

Haley Sturgeon Smile

Leaving Copper Rock Encouraged

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Kendra Dalton says she’s a better golfer than ever. That statement covers last season, when her third missed cut of the Epson Tour schedule didn’t come until September.

Now that she has failed to play the final round in three of five tournaments in 2022, including the Copper Rock Championship, she recognizes that her degree of self-belief lacks supporting evidence on her scorecards.

The numbers added up to 77 and 78 for the former BYU golfer this week at Copper Rock Golf Course, the second-year host of the event presented by KSLSPORTS.com. Friday’s variable weather pattern in Hurricane produced cold, windy, rainy and, finally, sunny conditions just before sunset. By then, it was too late for Dalton and Haley Sturgeon to rally and earn a place in the final-round field Saturday, when conditions are expected to be much more pleasant.

Kendra Dalton tees off on the par-five 5th hole. Photo/Jesse Dodson

Sturgeon, an assistant pro at The Country Club in Salt Lake City, performed better in the second round to extend her trend of last April, when she also received a sponsor exemption into the LPGA Tour-brand stop at Copper Rock. Sturgeon (81-76) bogeyed the last two holes Friday, after a birdie on the par-4 No. 13 (No. 6 for regular play) had tied her with Dalton, an Epson Tour regular.

Emma Broze, a former Oklahoma State golfer from France, has posted 73-68 for a 3-under-par total and a two-stroke lead over three players. The rest of the field is over par for the tournament.

Copper Rock Championship 2nd round leader Emma Broze. Photo/Jim Bochenek

The cut came at 8 over par, four shots higher than last year (before the wind became the story of the final round and scores soared). Dalton missed by three strokes this week, even though she played the back nine in even par for two days.

Defending champion Bailey Tardy (78-75) missed by one shot, thanks to a bogey on the par-4 No. 17 (usually No. 10), where she partially shanked a short-iron approach shot into a bunker that’s seemingly not even in play on the other side of the creek from the green.

Two former amateur stars advanced, though. In her pro debut, 17-year-old Alexa Pano (79-73) made the cut on the number. Gabriela Ruffels, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, bounced back from an 81 with a 66 that included an eagle on the par-4 No. 10 (usually No. 3), where she drove the green.

As for Dalton, she bogeyed six of the first 11 holes Friday in a round that seemed doomed from the start, even while a 75 would have been sufficient to keep playing. Heavy rain stopped just in time for Dalton to tee off in the mid-afternoon, but cost her a warmup session. Her tee shot on the par-5 No. 1 went into the desert to the right of the fairway, leading to a bogey. Dalton’s iron game was off all day, although she was more disappointed with a short game that’s “really killing me” and couldn’t overcome those ball-striking issues.

“I feel like I’m better than I’ve ever been,” Dalton said, “but I’m not scoring.”

So she’ll travel to Garden City, Kansas, next week, hoping that the remaining three-fourths of the tour schedule will evoke better results. “Everything’s there,” she said of her game. “You just keep moving forward and learning. I know it sounds crazy, but I know it’s there, and I’m going to do it.”

Haley Sturgeon tee shot on the tournament’s 3rd hole at Copper Rock. Photo/Jesse Dodson

Sturgeon also left Copper Rock feeling encouraged, while wishing she could have done more with her limited tour exposure for 2022. “I have the game,” she said. “It’s mental, and then it’s just accepting the elements. And, I think, belief in yourself is a big part of it.”

She’ll keep working on her game and on her Class A PGA membership. Sturgeon wants to use that status to become eligible for the Utah Section PGA Player of the Year award. She means overall, not only among female pros, as a three-time Women’s Player of the Year.

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Epson Tour Copper Rock Championship Update

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 Smiles have varying styles. Kendra Dalton’s wry grin came with a shake of her head and an expression of exasperation Thursday as she stood on the No. 9 tee of Copper Rock Golf Course, buffeted by the wind in her face.

The second Copper Rock Championship resumed in the same, relentlessly windy conditions as the inaugural tournament ended last April. The scores told the story in the opening round of the 54-hole Epson Tour event presented by KSLSPORTS.com: LPGA Tour veteran Kim Kaufman’s 2-under-par 70 was good for a one-stroke lead and, even more remarkably, only three other golfers shot par or better.

“You can get punished out here,” Dalton said, after absorbing two double bogeys on the front nine. The former BYU golfer rallied by playing the back nine in 1 under par, posting a 77 that “sounds awful,” she acknowledged, although that number looked a lot better as the afternoon progressed.

Kendra Dalton, former Utah State Women’s Amateur champion and BYU Cougar.

Dalton is inside this weekend’s projected cut line, which came at 6 over par for 36 holes last year. Copper Rock was much more playable in the first two rounds of 2021, before the sustained winds of 30-plus mph arrived for the finish.

Bailey Tardy, who posted 66-70-70 in winning last April’s title, opened with a 78. Alexa Pano, making her pro debut at age 17 after recently appearing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, played the last four holes in 1 under just to shoot a 79.

Haley Sturgeon missed the cut by one stroke last year. In Thursday’s case, she got to experience everything she missed in that final round as the wind took its toll on the 120-player field.

Playing on another sponsor exemption, the assistant pro from The Country Club in Salt Lake City shot an 81, slightly worse than the 79 she opened with last year before responding with a 70.

Haley Sturgeon, Salt Lake Country Club assistant professional and Rolex Women’s Player of the Year.

Sturgeon hopes to make a similar comeback, the biggest question being when she’ll get to play. Thunderstorms are in the forecast for Friday afternoon, when Dalton and Sturgeon are scheduled to tee off among the last few threesomes. If there’s any delay at all, the second round will spill over into Saturday.

Thursday’s average round lasted nearly 6 hours, with the wind requiring an agonizing process on every shot, even (or especially) short putts.

Dalton, in her fourth year on the newly renamed Epson Tour, missed the cut in the first two tournaments of 2022 before advancing in the last two events and ranking 64th on the money list. Her adventurous front nine Thursday included two swings from a greenside bunker on the par-5 No. 1 (No. 12 for regular play), followed by two good par saves and two missed birdie chances. The most exposed parts of the course then caused her trouble.

Her tee shot on the par-3 No. 6 hit “a wall” of wind, she said, leading to a penalty stroke and a double bogey. On the par-4 No. 9 (usually No. 2), her well-struck approach shot went through the green, then she chipped poorly and three-putted from 15 feet for another double bogey. At that point, she was 6 over and “a little frustrated,” she said, ducking her head on the green of the same hole where she had tried to laugh off the rough conditions just moments earlier.

But she regrouped. Dalton played solidly on the back nine, birdieing the par-5 No. 12 after a great shot out of a fairway bunker, hitting seven greens in regulation and saving pars when necessary.

“A lot of it’s your attitude,” she said of salvaging a round. “You can get pretty mad and keep that angry energy, but that’s something I’m really trying to do, is not react in my mind. I think that just comes with experience.”

Sturgeon knew what she was getting into this week, as a club pro temporarily experiencing life in an LPGA Tour-brand event. Yet the wind and the environment still worked against her.

“You’re just trying to get mentally ready for (the wind),” she said. “Unfortunately, I just couldn’t settle into it and accept it. I feel like I was fighting it a lot. I knew it was coming, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.”

Same with performing in a tour setting. Sturgeon labeled herself as “a little bit more prepared” than last year, but she “still had a lot of nerves going.”

Ernie Schneiter

Ernie Schneiter Jr. Receives Utah Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Ernie Schneiter Jr. long ago was inducted into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, and he has received multiple honors from the Utah Section PGA and the Utah Golf Association during his 70-plus-year tenure as a golf professional.

The recognition keeps coming, in his 90s. Schneiter was presented a Distinguished Service Award on April 6 during the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation’s annual Spring Honors and Awards Banquet in Salt Lake City.

Schneiter was recognized for his impact in northern Utah, having redesigned and expanded Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course in Riverdale and built Schneiter’s Bluff GC in West Point. He’s credited with introducing countless golfers to the game while promoting golf on a one-on-one basis with his personable nature.

The Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation annually presents one or two Distinguished Service Awards. High school drill team advocate Lori Rupp will be honored alongside Schneiter in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Museum in the City Creek Center.

Joe Cravens was recognized as a Coach of Merit and Roger Buhrley, John Colosimo, Gil Cordova, Gail Meakins, Alaina Parker and Dave Wigham were named Distinguished High School Coaches.

Schneiter, a 1948 graduate of Weber High School, was inducted into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, along with Mike Weir and Mary Lou Baker. He was named the Utah Section PGA Professional of the Year in 1997 and received both the UGA’s Gold Club Award and the PGA’s Jeff Beaudry Golf Ambassador Award in 2000.

CHICAGO, IL - June 28: Keith Soriano during the PGA CORE Committee Meetings at Hilton O’Hare on June 28, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)

Prepare for your Annual Career Majors

By Keith Soriano, PGA

It’s. HERE.  My favorite golf week of the year… The Masters.  As I think about everything that goes into preparing to host the best golfers in the world, I think about the teams of people involved.  The team that puts on each major championship in 2022 has worked diligently for years prior to prepare for their time in the spotlight.  While you may never host an event of this magnitude at your facility, you probably have experience preparing for “major” events. The time, energy, and dedication spent to ensure that tournaments such as your Club Championship or Member-Guest are a success serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of preparation. 

My colleague Todd Smith, PGA once wrote an article on the importance of properly preparing for interviews by comparing them to playing a practice round.  As one of the most decorated players in the PGA of America and a multi-time participant in the PGA Championship, he knows what he’s talking about. It was an important topic, and his article caused me to consider other career-related “major” events that should demand your attention. Like the annual calendar of major golf events, I have identified an annual cadence of four “major” career events that you should complete to prepare you for future success.

What is a “major” career-related event? In my opinion, it is anything that impacts the quality of your job, your enjoyment of it, or the intersection of your work and the rest of your life. Adding the following events to your annual calendar is a positive first step in achieving each of those objectives.

Annual Self-Evaluation and Employer Review – While the effectiveness of annual reviews is often debated and many employees dread the process, you can turn your review into a productive, career-building interaction with some additional preparation. Start with an honest self-evaluation of your performance during the year. Did you reach the goals you set for yourself? Did you meet the performance objectives of your employer? Can you clearly articulate the value you provided using real data? Use the time with your employer to discuss personal goals and understand their vision for the future. Your employer’s feedback and insight can be valuable resources and serve as a guide to identify opportunities for growth. 

Update Your Resume – After a thorough self-evaluation and employer review, it’s time to update your resume to include your greatest successes and highlight additional skills or experiences that you have gained. If you were able to clearly articulate the value you provided to your employer during the review process, add those success stories to your resume as impactful bullet points. 

Reassess Values & Priorities  – Your time, energy, & resources are all finite, which means you need to be intentional about how you choose to spend them. Have there been meaningful changes in your personal life? Were there any significant changes to your job or at your workplace? In either case, any dramatic changes may necessitate a shift in your priorities, which may require options you’ve never considered before. In that instance, seeking the counsel of someone with an outsider’s perspective may be beneficial. 

Goal Setting – This is a critical step, as goals help to define exactly what will demand your attention from this point forward. Using the knowledge gained through your Self-Evaluation, Employer Review & Values Assessment, set specific goals that will help you meet the expectations of your employer while finding the correct balance between your work and your life. Be sure to write them down and share them with someone who will hold you accountable. 

There you have it. A schedule of “major” career events that, like the Masters, should be highlights of your annual calendar. The timing of each will vary depending on your season, but when the time comes, I encourage you to connect with your mentors or myself to help guide you through the process. 

CLICK HERE to make an appointment with Keith Soriano, Regional Director |Member & Section Operations.

Mike Stanger

Mike Stanger: Doug Vilven Distinguished Service Award

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Mike Stanger’s passing at age 57 in August, as his two sons were playing in the first round of the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open, undoubtedly was untimely.

As some consolation, though, the Utah Section PGA was able to honor Stanger that weekend at Riverside Country Club in Provo. That will happen again in February, when the Section’s professionals will play in the “EZ-GO Utah Winter Classic in Memory of Mike Stanger” in St. George.

As a Section member and longtime manufacturer’s representative, Stanger was a three-time winner of the Section’s Jon Unger Salesperson of the Year. He’s the second recipient of the Doug Vilven Distinguished Service Award.

“I don’t think Mike realized how many people that he touched and how many lives he affected in the golf world and in the world in general,” said Devin Dehlin, the Utah Section PGA’s executive director.

During the last two rounds of the Utah Open, Section pros wore ribbons on their caps in honor of Stanger and Dehlin recognized him during the presentations on the 18th green that Sunday.

Dehlin, a longtime friend of Stanger, was consoled “because we were able to do something for him immediately,” he said. “It made it special in a lot of ways.”

Among other contributions to Utah golf, Stanger had been instrumental in the Utah Open’s growth by arranging for pro-am gifts through the on-site Nike tent, during his affiliation with that company.